Common Name: Leeks, Giant Garlic, Sand Leek
Botanical Name: Allium scorodoprasum
Type and Use: Perennial bulb with edible bulb and leaves used for salads, soups, and many other dishes
Location: Full sun to light shade
Planting Dates: Plant the large bulbs in the fall for harvest in the early summer. They can also be planted late summer for harvest in the winter and early spring.
Planting Method: Plant the bulbs as deep as twice their diameter. Plant seed about ½ inch deep. Cover the seed with a thin layer of compost. Transplants work well if you can find them.
Seed Emergence: Seeds emerge 1-2 weeks after planting
Harvest Time: In the early summer when the plant has matured but before the leaves start to brown and before the weather turns hot
Height: 18 inches-3 feet
Spread: 8-10 inches
Final Spacing: 4-6 inches
Growth Habits: Leeks are related to and look like giant green onions with very tall, dark-green flat leaves.
Culture: Same as for onions and garlic. Healthy soil and a basic organic program. Let the soil stay on the dry side as the plants mature. Some gardeners like to blanch the stems by piling soil up on the plant. They like the white color that results and think that it improves the quality. It doesn’t, and we think it’s a silly thing to do.
Add organic fertilizer to leeks when they’re 8-12 inches tall. Use several big handfuls of compost high around each stem. This provides a slow release of nutrients and blanches the stalks white and tender. Use 2 to 3 handfuls compost mounded around each plant.
Troubles and Solutions: Few problems, if any, other than slugs and snails occasionally. Spray and dust with hot pepper products. Thrips are sometimes a pest but can be controlled with seaweed and neem.
Harvest and Storage: Harvest the entire plant and either eat as soon as possible or store in the refrigerator at 32-40°. Will last 8-10 weeks.
Notes: Like onions and garlic, leeks are among some of the most healthy foods.
Varieties: American Flag, Electra, Titan